Srimad Bhagavatham is verily the rasa roopa and there is no part of Bhagavatham that can be thrown away. It is said that it is the quintessence of all Shastras, Vedas and Upanishads. While the Vedas and Upanishads and Scriptures of that order serve a purpose are verily the tree and roots of dharma, Srimad Bhagavatham is the fruit. The Vedas and Upanishads are akin to stem and main trunk of the tree and Bhagavatham is the fruit. For normal mortals reveling in the mundane world eagerly desire to taste the fruit when the eventual goal of planting a tree is to cherish the fruits of that tree and hence Srimad Bhagavatham has become the fruit.
When we do any work be it Vaidika, the one that conforms to the Shastras or be it in the mundane world, one ideally expects a fruit for performing the work. The scriptures have divided this fruit into four parts namely the four Purusharthas – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
Whatever Dharma one performs should bestow one with more wealth so that one continues to do more and more dharma. Whatever act one does should increase the interest to do more and more dharma – ‘tat dharma evaatma ruche prajaayate’
The end of doing dharma is “samsiddhih haritoshanam [SB 1.2.13]” which connotes that the dharma that one does immensely pleases the Lord and hence he bestows one with Hari Bhakti and this ultimately leads us to Moksha. Srimad Bhagavatham elucidates the four Purusharthas in eighteen thousand slokas in twelve cantos and the ultimate Purushartha being the Lord himself. The dharma that Bhagavatham preaches is Bhagavatha Dharma, the Artha that is shows is the supreme wealth of Bhagavath Bhakti. The Kama which connotes desire is shown as the desire to be blessed with more and more Satsangs and Bhagavath Kainkarya. Srimad Bhagavatham shows the last Purushartha, Moksha which is verily attaining the holy feet of the Lord. The four Purusharthas are verily Lord Krishna himself. Bhagavatha Dharma is no different from Lord Krishna- “Bhagavatha Proktam Bhagavatam”. Bhakthi [Artha] is verily Lord Krishna Himself. Desire [Kama] to do more service to the Lord is no different from the desire for the Lord and liberation [Moksha] is eventually the Lord Himself.
In another perspective, Srimad Bhagavatham,the fruit is divided into four parts – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha and it probably because of this precept that every canto in Srimad Bhagavatham represents a part of Lord Sri Krishna. The first cannot [Adikari Skanda] represents the feet of the Lord, the heart of the Lord being the sixth canto, which contains the episodes of Ajamila and Vrithrasura. The worst of the worst sinners Ajamila or the best of the best Devas like Indra were not spared by the compassion of the Lord. The tenth canto being the head of the Lord the Ashraya [shelter] and the eleventh canto is the crown of the Lord. When we come to the eleventh canto our Lord Krishna is verily the Dwarkadipathi and also since he was crowned the name ‘Govinda’ in Govindapatabishekam. The eleventh canto is considered as the crown of the Lord and has a lot of expensive and multifarious gems studded on it. These gems are the discourses given by Lord Krishna to Uddava. The Lord himself summoned Uddava and began talking about the great truths in greater detail which are paths to reach the holy feet of the Lord. There is no path that goes unexplained in the eleventh canto. He expounded on Kriya Yoga, Karma Yoga, Sankhya Yoga, Varnashrama Dharma. After expounding on all the different paths, he delineated on the path of Bhakti – the beautiful fruit of Bhagavatha Dharma.
Uddava has completely surrendered unto the Lord akin to how Arjuna’s complete surrender to the Lord. Arjuna refused to fight against his relatives and totally submitted unto the Lord. When Lord Krishna ordered him to fight against his relatives, he surrendered unto him but still hesitated to fight. Arjuna’s surrender is a conditional surrender and at the beginning when the Lord requested him to embrace the path of Sanyasa and instead asked him to take him along to Vaikunta. The Lord however denied his request and told him that at least one Bhagavatha needs to live on the earth. When one does not obey the Guru’s orders verbatim then it cannot be called as Sharanagathi – “Aanukulasya sankalpam prathakulasya varjanam”, it is said.
Here Uddava does not want to get separated from the Lord in spite of the Lord ordering him to embrace the path of Sanyasa and the entire Uddava Gita is the Upadesha given by the Lord to prepare Uddava to lead an ascetic life and in that transformation he imparted numerous nuggets of widsom.
The Lord blessed him saying that he would watch the acts of Uddava in the earth and when he is bored of the chores in the earth and turn unto the Lord, he mentioned that he would take it unto him then.
Mukti and being bound are only in Vyavahara. The true nature of one’s soul is the state of being unbounded.
The Lord explained the characteristics of a Jeevan Mukta, the qualities of a great devotee of the Lord. The devotee of the highest order offers the fruits of his karma to the Lord and abides verbatim to Vedas and Shastras. He knows the differences between Karma and Bhakti. The Lord is lenient for people adhering to the path of bhakti. It is absolutely fine for one to skip performing his karma on the pretext of doing bhakti. The devotees of the highest order sees Lord in everything be it an ant hill or a serpent and will never cause harm to them. The Lord then explains the path of bhakti and confides in Uddava that this path is indeed difficult since the negative energy in one can pull one away from the path of bhakti.
Na Rodayathi Mam yogo na sankhyam dharma yeva cha|
Na Svadhyayasthapsthyago neshtapoortham na dakshina||
Vrathani yagnachandamsi thirthaani niyama Yamaha|
yathavarundae satsangaha sarvasangapaho hi maam||
Satsangena hi daithaya yathudana mrugaha kagaha|
Gandharvaapsaro nagaha sidhascharanaaguhyakahaa||
Vidyadara manusyaeshu vaishyaha shoodraha striyonthyajahaa|
rajasthama prakruthayasthasmimthasmin yugaenaga||
Bahavo mathpadam praptaasthvashtakaayadavadayaha|
Vrushaparva balirvano mayaschata Vibishanaha||
Sugriva Hanumannruksho gajo grudhro vanikpathaha|
Vyadaha Kubja vrajae Gopyo yagnapathnyasthathaparae|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 11.12.1-6]
Nothing can pull me onto a devotee like satsang. He gives a list of paths like Yoga, Swadhyaya, meditation, fire sacrifices, social sacrifices, charities to Brahmanas, observing fast for hours, pilgrimage tours to name a few cannot easily entice the Lord to a devotee. The Lord having said this enlightens Uddava that it is satsang that can take him unto a devotee. A satsang is a divine communion [sath] with a Mahatma that can bestow the Lord’s darshan, compassion and grace. The Lord will come in front of a devotee if he is he in the shadow of a Mahatma – “Darshanad eva sadhavaha”.
Upadesa is the first or lowest level of transmission of grace and the highest level is by mere glance and by merely thinking about a devotee. Peace prevails in one’s mind when prostrates unto the holy feet of the Sadguru. Lord Krishna acknowledges that is indeed very difficult to be in divine communion of a great Mahatma. “Swayam hi thirtaani punanthi santhaha” – The very reason that Mahatmas travel from place to place is to provide sanctity to wherever they travel. Krishna talks about such a satsang with a great Mahatma, whose very glance can lead to the holy feet of the Lord. The Lord substantiates this precept with a huge list who were blessed to be in this type of satsang. This precept is not limited to humans, but it is also applicable for animals as well; Gajendra the elephant was bestowed with such a satsang. In his previous birth he was born as Indradyumna who was blessed to be in the satsang of Sage Dhurvasa. Jatayu was blessed to have that kind of a satsang from divine mother Sita and that finally lead Lord Rama unto him during his last moments and he finally got liberated. The divine mother did not give any Upadesa and it was a sheer glance on Jatayu and he was bestowed with Vaikunta. Gandarva Huhu was obliterated from the curse of Devala and that lead him to liberation. Kaliya got the benediction and satsang of Saubhari Maharishi and it lead to Lord Krishna himself to dance on his head. The Lord then goes to say that one can attain him irrespective of one’s clan be it a Brahmana, Shudhra or a Vysya. Lord talks about Sugriva who was afraid of his own life, was intimidated by his wife and dwelling in a house since he was gripped with fear on the very thought of his brother Vaali. Having said this, he tightly caught hold of satsang with Hanumanji took him to greatest heights and was crowned as the king of Kishkinda, making him the greatest of the greatest among the Vaanaras. Lord Rama made this possible since Hanumanji was the mediator who led to the divine friendship between Lord Rama and Sugreeva. Lord Rama slained Vaali and crowned Sugreeva as the king. Lord Rama regarded Sugreva in elevated state since he was a close friend of Hanumanji, who was the cohesive force between Lord Rama and Sugriva – “Sugrivo hanuman rikshaha”. Dharmavyada, a butcher and Kubja were liberated by satsang. The Gopis were in satsang eternally. The birds, animals, forests, river Yamuna all seemed to be satsang for them and that verily liberated them. Yagnapatnis were in satsang and that took them to Lord Krishna. The Lord confided in Uddava that all these Bhagavathas did not follow any path of Yoga, Sankhya, Vratha, Niyama and were not eligible to do any of these paths. They were in satsang and that led them to the highest state.
The Lord then reminisced the Gopis who had pure and pristine love for Lord Krishna who were unable to control their sorrow when he and Balarama departed to Mathura and felt bad for not reciprocating their true love and broke down on the thought of the Gopis.
Ramena Sardham madhuraam pranithae Svaaphalgina mayianuathachithaha|
Vigaadabhavena na mae viyoga thipradhayonyam dadrushuhu sukaaya||
[Srimad Bhagavatham 11.12.10]
Math kama ramanam jharam asvaroopa vidho balah|
brhamamam paramam prapuh sangah chatta sahasrashah|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 11.12.13]
There are hundreds of Gopis in Brindavan who never knew that Krishna was indeed the very “Poornam Brahmam Sanathanam” and showered all their love on him on the thought that he was a cowherd and that they have attained the highest state by merely thinking of Krishna.
Uddava when ordained by the Lord to visit the Gopis in Vrindavan learnt the exalted state of pure and pristine devotion for Lord Krishna of the Gopis and offered his obeisance’s to them.
vandae Nanda vrajas strinam pada renum abhikshnasaha|
yasaam harikathodh geetham punathi bhuvanthrayam|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 10.47.63]
‘Oh Uddhava!’, Krishna exclaimed. ‘What remains to be asked and what remains to be heard?’ ‘Nothing!’, ‘Simply Nothing!’ – the Lord said to Uddhava in an emotional tone. ‘Shun all your questions. Get over them! Do you have to even speak after witnessing this wonderful Bhakti of the Gopis? What more do I have to expound on?’ He said. ‘Fix your mind on Me like the Gopis’ and there will be questions no more!’, Krishna told Uddhava in an emotional tone.
Uddhava was moved by Krishna’s passionate words – spoken his true devotee, friend and wellwisher – ‘bruthyah, suhrut, sakhaah’!
Recognizing the sublime state of the Gopis and appreciating Krishna’s emotion and passion, Uddhava looked at Krishna, and started to speak up!
What he spoke, let’s see sometime soon…
The satsang ended with prayers and Namsankirtan.